For parents considering a divorce, one of the most emotional challenges will be arranging to divide time with the children. You and your ex probably both want to spend as much time together with your kids as possible. Some divorcing couples will be able to arrange a 50/50 split of custody. Others will need to split parenting time less evenly.
Regardless of the overall breakdown of parenting time, you may feel a particularly strong desire to be with your children during the holiday season and on other special days. How can parents who share custody prepare for the holidays?
Determine the easiest way to split the holidays
Your children want to be with the people that they love on special days, so the more you and your ex can cooperate, the better. Your children may struggle emotionally with separation from either parent on special days, especially the first year after your separation. If you have a solid relationship and are able to avoid conflict when you see one another, you may be able to still get the entire family together for holiday celebrations.
If that isn’t a realistic idea because of the likelihood of disagreements or negative emotions, then you might consider splitting holidays so that the children see everyone on the same day. The children could spend the morning with one parent and then the afternoon and evening with the other.
Finally, you could also potentially alternate the holidays, which would involve the children’s spending one holiday with one parent and the next holiday with the other. You can then invert the division of holidays for the following years so that both parents get to spend each holiday with the children every other year.
Coordination is key for the whole family’s enjoyment
Your schedule and parties aren’t the only things you need to coordinate. Gifts, childcare coverage for school vacations and travel plans may also require discussions with your ex. The more communicative and cooperative you are when sharing custody with your ex, the easier it will be for you to have a lovely holiday celebration, even in the first year after your separation.
Addressing factors that can complicate child custody arrangements will help you and your ex for yourselves and your children on special days.